Ethnic media advertising effectiveness, influences and implications

Ethnic media advertising effectiveness, influences and implications

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JID: AMJ

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Australasian Marketing Journal 0 0 0 (2018) 1–5

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Australasian Marketing Journal journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ausmj

Ethnic media advertising effectiveness, influences and implications Hei Tong Lau∗, Richard Lee School of Marketing, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, Australia

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history: Received 23 August 2017 Revised 18 May 2018 Accepted 21 May 2018 Available online xxx Keywords: Ethnic identity Advertising effectiveness Ethnic cues Ethnic newspapers Ethnic marketing

a b s t r a c t Cultural diversity is the norm in today’s society, and past research has shown that ethnic cues in advertisements are effective in targeting ethnic consumers. This study extends this research stream by examining how ethnic identify impacts ethnic consumers’ perceptions of advertising in ethnic versus mainstream newspapers. The results show that ethnic consumers with higher ethnic identity have more positive responses towards advertisements with ethnic cues, particularly when the advertisements appear in ethnic newspapers. By contrast, for the same advertisements, mainstream media appears less effective in eliciting positive responses. Ethnic consumers with higher ethnic identity are also more likely to purchase and recommend products advertised in ethnic media. These findings offer insights to marketers and businesses who are targeting ethnic consumers. They shed light on when and how to use ethnic cues, particularly in ethnic media, in order to achieve desirable marketing and communication strategies that target ethnic consumers. © 2018 Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Immigration and cross-border movements of people have led to many countries possessing a culturally diverse population. In turn, this diversity presents opportunities and challenges to marketers who are targeting ethnic minority consumers (Jamal, 2003). Minority ethnic consumers refer to individuals who are affiliated with particular ethnic groups that are distinct from the mainstream population (Pires and Stanton, 20 0 0; Pires et al., 2011). Ethnic consumer behaviour can be determined by its ethnic and cultural background, and the pursuit of effective marketing strategies to target ethnic consumers is increasingly challenging (Arnett, 2002; Cleveland et al., 2011; Moschis and Ong, 2011). Take Australia for example, ethnic Chinese in Australia is a large ethnic minority group (ABS, 2016). On its own, Western mass media may be inadequately equipped to target and reach these consumers due to the diverse ethnic dimensions, such as race and background, languages, religion, customs and values (Cui, 1997; Cui and Choudhury, 2002; Elliot et al., 2013). Indeed, numerous studies have shown that, compared to the mainstream population, ethnic consumers have different consumption patterns, media usage and response patterns toward marketing activities (Dimofte et al., 2010). Consequently, ethnic media offer a powerful avenue for reaching ethnic individuals, especially with those who are less fluent with the mainstream language (Cleveland et al., 2012; Cui, 1997; Mokhlis, 2009; Webster, 2011). ∗

Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: [email protected]ymail.unisa.edu.au (H.T. Lau), [email protected] edu.au (R. Lee).

Moreover, previous studies have indicated that consumers form behaviours from how they process information (Hasson et al., 2015; Heckler and Childers, 1992; Sasaki et al., 2011). Advertisements with a cultural context, such as ethnic cues and text, have a unique message delivery impact on ethnic consumers’ buying behaviour (Khan et al., 2015; Torres and Luna-Nevarez, 2012; Williams et al., 2004). While ethnic consumers may not possess particular product preferences and features, they tend to respond to, or at least take notice of, advertisements in ethnic media that are congruent with their ethnic and cultural heritage. However, studies into ethnic consumer behaviour invariably assume that all ethnic consumers possess the same degree of ethnic affiliation. In other words, they all self-identify with their ethnicity to similar degrees. By contrast, sociology research has affirmed that a person’s felt ethnic identity does not necessarily relate to his or her ethnic or cultural background (Baljaev, 2012; Branch, 2001; Nagel, 1994; Phinney et al., 2001). Not considering the impact of how one identifies with his or her own ethnicity would make findings into ethnic consumer behaviour inconclusive, or even misleading. Therefore, this begets the following questions that this study seeks to answer:

1. How does ethnic identity influence ethnic consumers’ perceptions of the characteristics of ethnic media? 2. How does the presence of ethnic cues in ethnic-media or mainstream-media advertisement influence ethnic consumers’ perceptions of the advertisement and choice of media? How does this influence vary across consumers with different degrees of ethnic identity?

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ausmj.2018.05.014 1441-3582/© 2018 Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article as: H.T. Lau, R. Lee, Ethnic media advertising effectiveness, influences and implications, Australasian Marketing Journal (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ausmj.2018.05.014

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3 How does ethnic identity influence ethnic consumers’ purchase and recommendations of products advertised in ethnic media? Besides melding research in ethnic marketing and sociology, this study provides an implementable guide for marketers and businesses to develop marketing communication strategies that appeal to ethnic consumers, particularly in countries with a large multicultural population. The findings also enable marketers to recognise the circumstances under which ethnic-media advertising may be effective, as well as when the use of ethnic cues in advertisements is appropriate. 2. Conceptual development Ethnic media play an important role in a culturally diverse host country, including the political, cultural, social and economic and lifestyle of the ethnic community (Sun, 2006; Fitzgerald, 2015). For example, Chinese-language newspapers in Australia reflect, represent and advocate the overall interests of the ethnic Chinese communities. Ethnic newspapers perform several overlapping roles, including offering information and news in ethnic language, providing contacts and sustaining association with the ethnic community, and assisting adaptation to the host country (Sun and Sinclair, 2016). In the following sections, hypotheses are presented regarding how ethnic consumers may perceive advertisements in ethnic versus mainstream newspapers, and how these perceptions depend on the degree that ethnic individuals identify with their own ethnicity. Ethnic individuals’ self-distinctiveness and social identity are portrayed by their ethnic identity (Cleveland et al., 2011). Research has shown that self-distinctive ethnic consumers own not only physical characteristic distinctiveness, but also psychological feelings and attachment to their ethnic group. Extending this proposition to a marketing context implies that ethnic consumers would prefer an advertisement in ethnic media than in mainstream media, as they can identify more closely with the language and contents of the ethnic media (Aaker et al., 20 0 0; Bartikowski and Walsh, 2015; Grier and Deshpande, 2001; McGuire et al., 1978). It also means that ethnic consumers who identify more highly with their ethnicity may respond more positively to such targeted appeals than ethnic consumers who relate less to their own ethnicity. The conception of self-distinctiveness also relates to the social distinctiveness theory (McGuire and Padawer-Singer, 1976; Leonard et al., 2008; Rios and Wheeler, 2010), which asserts that an individual’s self-distinctiveness characteristics are more prominent when the individuals are the numerical minority in the society. Thus, ethnic consumers who are minorities in a pluralistic environment tend to take more notice of people and things with the same minority ethnicity. Therefore, our first hypothesis is: H1. The higher the ethnic identity of ethnic consumers, the more they prefer an advertisement in ethnic newspapers than the same advertisement in mainstream newspapers. Studies have shown that ethnic consumers notice and have a positive response to ethnic cues in advertisements (Dimofte et al., 2003; Khan et al., 2015; Torres and Luna-Nevarez, 2012). By raising the salience of ethnic consumers, cultural cues such as ethnic language, symbol or model are effective in influencing ethnic consumers (Appiah and Liu, 2009; Chang, 2014; Cui et al., 2012; Sameti and Khalili, 2017). For example, Green (1999) shows that the presence of an ethnic spokesperson in an advertisement raised ethnic consumers’ liking for the advertisement as well as the advertised product. Cui et al. (2012) further show that Chinese consumers are intrigued by the images of Chinese ethnic models rather than Caucasian models in advertisements. Even the mere presence of a spokesperson of the same ethnic background in an

advertisement can heighten the trustworthiness and interest in the advertised product (Deshpande and Stayman, 1994). Drawing from the above findings, we therefore hypothesise that: H2. The higher the ethnic identity of ethnic consumers, the more they prefer an advertisement with an ethnic cue in ethnic newspapers than the same advertisement in mainstream newspapers. Because ethnic consumers who can self-identify with the cultural values in information and communication sources are more likely to respond favourably to the sources, advertisements with ethnic cues may persuade ethnic consumers to increase their behavioural consumption (Butt and de Run, 2011; Lin and Lu, 2010; Teng and Laroche, 2007). Ethnic consumers’ buying decision and perceived value of products may be affirmed by cultural familiarity, symbolic attributes and situational usage (Aaker et al., 2001; Chattaraman et al., 2009; Segev et al., 2014). In other words, their positive perceptions extend from liking the ethnic advertising to liking the ethnic media containing the advertising as well as the advertised products. Hence corollary to hypothesis H2, we contend that: H3. The higher the ethnic identity, the more likely that ethnic consumers will (a) purchase products advertised in ethnic newspapers and (b) recommend products advertised in ethnic newspapers. H4. The higher the ethnic identity, the more favourable the perceptions of ethnic media. 3. Method and analysis Intercept surveys were conducted in Adelaide Chinatown precinct, where the Chinese community often congregate. An author of this study approached people with ethnic Chinese appearance as they exited Chinese supermarkets. The conversation took place in Mandarin to ensure that the participants were of Chinese ethnicity. Only participants who confirmed that they had read ethnic Chinese newspapers at least once within the last month qualified for the survey. The final sample comprised of 122 ethnic Chinese participants, with 52 males and 70 females. All participants completed a two-part questionnaire with the interviewer on a one-by-one basis to improve the accuracy of the responses. The first part captured the degree of ethnic identity, ethnic media perceptions, and consumption and advertising responses. The conceptualisation of ethnic identity was based on Phinney et al. (2007) Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure-Revised (MEIM-R), a 6-item scale that captured the degree of attachment, belonging and understanding of an ethnic group. Perceptions of ethnic media were captured via six characteristics (honest, trustworthy, informative, relevant, up-to-date, and entertaining) on a 7-point scale. Consumption and advertising responses were assessed using single items by participants self-reporting their past purchase and recommendation behaviour after viewing advertisements in ethnic media. The second part of the questionnaire showed four pairs of advertisements, one pair at a time, and participants were asked to select the preferred advertisement within each pair. In developing the second part, actual advertisements of two brands were used: BMW car as a high-involvement product and L’Oréal shampoo as a low-involvement consumer good product. The advertisements were digitally manipulated into digital versions of two newspapers: (1) The Advertiser (http://www.adelaidenow.com.au) a mainstream South Australian daily newspapers and (2) The I Age News (www.iage.com.au), a popular Chinese ethnic newspapers that is widely and freely available in all Chinese supermarkets in the China town precinct. The pages containing the inserted advertisements were then printed out and shown to participants as they

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Fig. 1. BMW advertisement without ethnic cue (a) versus with ethnic cue (b).

Fig. 2. L’Oréal advertisement with Caucasian model (a) verses with Chinese model (b).

answered the survey. No time limit was imposed on the participants to complete the survey or to choose a preferred advertisement. The participants were first shown two pairs of advertisements in ethnic Chinese and mainstream newspapers: Pair 1 – a BMW advertisement in Chinese versus English newspaper; Fig. 1(a) shows the BMW advertisement. Pair 2 – a L’Oréal advertisement in Chinese versus English newspaper; Fig. 2(a) shows the L’Oréal advertisement. Pair 3 – a BMW advertisement with Chinese cue (Chinese zodiac sign of dragon) in Chinese versus English newspaper; Fig. 1(b) shows the BMW advertisement with the cue (Chinese zodiac sign of dragon). Pair 4 – a L’Oréal advertisement with Chinese cue (Chinese model) in Chinese versus English newspaper; Fig. 2(b) shows the L’Oréal advertisement with the cue (Chinese model). 4. Results The frequency counts in Table 1 indicate the preferred advertisement for each pair of advertisements shown to the participants. Overall, for an identical advertisement in either the mainstream or Chinese media, participants consistently preferred the one in the Chinese media across all four pairs of advertisements. Furthermore, comparing the results between Pairs 1 and 2, as well as between Pairs 3 and 4, suggests that the inclusion of an ethnic cue in the advertisement accentuated the preference for the Chinese-media advertisement. For Pairs 1 and 2, the percentage of preference for

Chinese media increased from 57% to 60%. Similarly, it increased from 55% to 60% for Pairs 3 and 4. These results hint that including an ethnic cue in advertisements in Chinese media may be effective in influencing the behaviour of ethnic consumers. Results for Pair 1 in Table 2 indicate that ethnic identity did not have an effect on participants’ preference of advertisements in ethnic versus mainstream newspaper (B = 0.196, p = 0.217); Pair 2 in Table 2 shows that participants with higher ethnic identity preferred the English advertisement with Chinese cue in the ethnic newspaper rather than the English advertisement with Chinese cue in the mainstream newspaper (B = 0.333, p = 0.045). Therefore, hypothesis H1 was rejected but H2 was supported, as ethnicity is only pertinent in ethnic media with ethnic cues Similarly, the L’Oréal advertisements produced similar results as the BMW advertisements. The Pair 3’s results failed to support hypothesis H1, meaning that ethnic identity did not have an effect on preference of advertisements in ethnic versus mainstream newspaper. Hypothesis H2, which postulates that participants with higher ethnic identity would prefer an advertisement containing an ethnic cue in ethnic newspapers than the same advertisement in mainstream newspapers, was accepted although at p < 0.10 level. As evident in Table 3, participants with higher ethnic identity were significantly more likely to have purchased (r = 0.322, p < 0.001) and made recommendations (r = 0.356, p < 0.001) of an advertised product or service in ethnic newspapers. Thus, hypothesis H3 was supported. Furthermore, participants with higher ethnic identity perceived Chinese ethnic newspapers more positively: honest (r = 0.416, p < 0.001), trustworthy (r = 0.406, p < 0.001), informative

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H.T. Lau, R. Lee / Australasian Marketing Journal 000 (2018) 1–5 Table 1 Frequency counts of preferred advertisement for advertisement pairs. Pairs

Description

Pair 1

English English English English English English English English

Pair 2 Pair 3 Pair 4

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in Chinese Newspaper in English Newspaper with Chinese Cue in Chinese Newspaper with Chinese Cue in English Newspaper with Caucasian model in Chinese Newspaper with Caucasian model in English Newspaper with Chinese Cue (Model) in Chinese Newspaper with Chinese Cue (Model) in English Newspaper

Count

%

69 53 73 48 66 53 73 49

57 43 60 40 55 45 60 40

Table 2 Results of binary logistic regression between ethnic identity and advertisement pairs. Pairs

Description

Pair 1

English English English English English English English English

Pair 2 Pair 3 Pair 4

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in Chinese Newspaper in English Newspaper with Chinese Cue in Chinese Newspaper with Chinese Cue in English Newspaper with Caucasian model in Chinese Newspaper with Caucasian model in English Newspaper with Chinese Cue (Model) in Chinese Newspaper with Chinese Cue (Model) in English Newspaper

B

S.E.

Wald

df

Sig.

0.196

0.159

1.523

1

0.217

0.333

0.166

4.018

1

0.045

0.161

0.157

1.046

1

0.306

0.296

0.163

3.279

1

0.070

Table 3 Results of correlation between ethnic identity and advertising response/consumption behaviour. Description

Correlation coefficient, r

Sig. value, p

Purchased the products/services advertised in ethnic newspaper Recommended the products/services advertised in ethnic newspaper

0.322∗ ∗ 0.356∗ ∗

0.001 0.001

Table 4 Results of correlation between ethnic identity and ethnic media perceptions. Description

Correlation coefficient, r

Sig. value, p

Honest Trustworthy Informative Relevant Recent Entertaining

0.416∗ ∗ 0.406∗ ∗ 0.338∗ ∗ 0.314∗ ∗ 0.286∗ ∗ 0.334∗ ∗

0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001

(r = 0.338, p < 0.001), relevant (r = 0.314, p < 0.001), recent (r = 0.286, p < 0.001) and entertaining (r = 0.334, p < 0.001). Therefore, hypothesis H4 was also supported (see Table 4). 5. Discussions This study demonstrates the efficacy of ethnic media in reaching ethnic consumers. In general, Chinese consumers preferred Chinese newspapers over mainstream English newspapers. Furthermore, the presence of an ethnic cue in the advertisement further accentuated this preference. Hence, marketers should consider the appropriate use of ethnic cues in advertisements to target ethnic consumers. This is consistent with Deshpande and Stayman (1994), who found that advertisements with the same race of models, symbolic cues or native language are perceived as more credible by consumers of the same ethnic background. However, ethnic identity has no impact on choice of media unless the advertisement contains an ethnic cue. When an identical advertisement with an ethnic cue appears in both Chinese and English media, the Chinese participants who self-reported higher ethnic identity were significantly more likely to choose the Chinese media. In other words, the presence of an ethnic cue in advertisements seems to heighten the salience of ethnic identity. Chinese participants with higher ethnic identity were also more likely to

purchase an advertised item, recommend the item, and have positive perceptions of the characteristics of Chinese media. Collectively, these findings support a close relationship among ethnic identity, ethnic cues and ethnic media. It is therefore imperative that marketers understand this phenomenon in order to maximise the returns of their advertising campaign that targets ethnic consumers. Effective use of ethnic media may be particularly rewarding because advertising cost in ethnic media are relatively inexpensive compared to mainstream media. However, in spite of the growth in ethnic populations in many countries, most marketing planning and implementations still lack thoughts regarding ethnic consumers as part of their strategic target segment (Lee et al., 2002; Peñaloza, 2018). To effectively target ethnic consumers, marketers need to be cognisant that there are specific meanings attached to an ethnic group’s native language, symbolic cues, as well as the diverse style of media channels within the ethnic media landscape. It is plausible that there are sub-segments even among those from the same ethnic background, and this difference would extend to the choice of ethnic media. For example, using Chinese social media, rather than printed ethnic newspapers, may reach younger Chinese consumers better. Marketers should also understand how ethnic consumers’ formation of memories from and emotional responses to advertising contribute to their buying propensity (Du Plessis, 1994; Hasson et al., 2015). In this regard, marketers should attempt to incorporate ethnic cues into the elements that form consumer’s memory in order to ensure that the advertisement and advertised product are retained for future recall at purchase occasions (Jain, 1990; Carvalho and Luna, 2014). In summary, this study extends prior research by shedding light on ethnic consumer behaviour that will guide marketers in developing marketing and communication strategies to target ethnic groups. Our results demonstrate that ethnic media has its place in the overall media landscape as an effective channel to reach ethnic

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consumers. Furthermore, advertisements that target ethnic audiences should incorporate ethnic cues in order to increase advertisement and brand likability. Indeed, not only is the use of ethnic cues in ethnic media effective, the use of ethnic cues in mainstream media may unintentionally alienate the population that is outside of the targeted minority group (Bartikowski et al., 2016). Given the limited scope and context of this study, future research should extend this study in several ways. Foremost, as ethnicity is itself a complex concept, research should scrutinise ethnic identity, including its meanings, values and conception in a wider sociological perspective. As different ethnic groups possess distinctly different symbols and languages, an obvious area would be to test the hypotheses across different ethnic groups and types of ethnic media. Future studies should also focus on generational differences among ethnic consumers as their different acculturation experiences may impact their ethnic identity perceptions, and hence their consumer behaviour (Rogler et al., 1980; Farver et al., 2002). Focus groups and qualitative methodologies can also be used to gain deeper insights into the rationale that underpins ethnic consumers’ choice of advertisements and media. Such in-depth studies on the use of ethnic media and ethnic cues will be meaningful to marketers targeting this large and growing segment. References Aaker, J.L., Sengupta, J., 20 0 0. Additivity versus attention: the role of culture in the resolution of information incongruity. J. Consum. Psychol. 9 (2), 67–82. Aaker, J.L., Benet-Martinez, V., Garolera, J., 2001. Consumption symbols as carriers of culture: a study of Japanese and Spanish brand personality constructs. J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 81 (3), 492. ABS (2016). 2016 Census Data Summary. Available from www.abs.gov.au , accessed on 10 June 2018. Appiah, O., Liu, Y-I., 2009. Reaching the model minority: ethnic differences in responding to culturally embedded targeted-and non-targeted advertisements. J. Curr. Issues Res. Advert. 31 (1), 27–41. Arnett, J.J., 2002. The psychology of globalization. Am. Psychol. 57 (10), 774–783. Baljaev, S., 2012. Reasons for the transformation of ethnic identity. Sociosphera 2012 (1), 46–48. Bartikowski, B., Walsh, G., 2015. Attitude toward cultural diversity: a test of identity-related antecedents and purchasing consequences. J. Bus. Res. 68 (3), 526–533. Bartikowski, B., Taieb, B., Chandon, J.L., 2016. Targeting without alienating on the Internet: ethnic minority and majority consumers. J. Bus. Res. 69 (3), 1082–1089. Branch, C.W., 2001. The many faces of self: ego and ethnic identities. J. Genet. Psychol. 162 (4), 412–429. Butt, M.M., De Run, E.C., 2011. Do target and non-target ethnic group adolescents process advertisements differently? Australas. Mark. J. 19 (2), 77–84. Carvalho, S., Luna, D., 2014. Effects of national identity salience on responses to ads. J. Bus. Res. 67 (5), 1026–1034. Chang, C.T., 2014. Why do Caucasian advertising models appeal to consumers in Taiwan? A cue-triggered value-expressive framework. Int. J. Advert. 33 (1), 155–177. Chattaraman, V., Rudd, N.A., Lennon, S.J., 2009. Identity salience and shifts in product preferences of Hispanic consumers: cultural relevance of product attributes as a moderator. J. Bus. Res. 62 (8), 826–833. Cleveland, M., Laroche, M., Hallab, R., 2012. Globalization, culture, religion, and values: comparing consumption patterns of Lebanese Muslims and Christians. J. Bus. Res. 66 (8), 958–967. Cleveland, M., Papadopoulos, N., Laroche, M., 2011. Identity, demographics, and consumer behaviors: international market segmentation across product categories. Int. Mark. Rev. 28 (3), 244–266. Cui, G., 1997. Marketing strategies in a multi-ethnic environment. J. Mark. Theory Pract. 5 (1), 122–134. Cui, G., Choudhury, P., 2002. Marketplace diversity and cost-effective marketing strategies. J. Consum. Mark. 19 (1), 54–73. Cui, G., Yang, X., Wang, H., Liu, H., 2012. Culturally incongruent messages in international advertising. Int. J. Advert. 31 (2), 355. Deshpandé, R., Stayman, D.M., 1994. A tale of two cities: distinctiveness theory and advertising effectiveness. J. Mark. Res. 31 (1), 57–64. Dimofte, C.V., Forehand, M.R., Deshpandé, R., 2003. Ad schema incongruity as elicitor of ethnic self-awareness and differential advertising response. J. Advert. 32 (4), 7–17. Dimofte, C., Johansson, J., Bagozzi, R., 2010. Global brands in the United States: how consumer ethnicity mediates the global brand effect. J. Int. Mark. 18 (3), 81–106. Du Plessis, E., 1994. Understanding and using likability. J. Advert. Res. 34 (5), 89–95. Elliot, E., Cherian, J., Casakin, H., 2013. Cultural metaphors: enhancing consumer pleasure in ethnic servicescapes. J. Bus. Res. 66 (8), 1004–1012.

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